I’m heartened by today’s news that Robert MacCarthy, the Dean of St Patrick’s (Anglican) Cathedral in Dublin, has proposed that St Patrick’s, the Irish national cathedral, ‘be made a national cathedral for all Irish Christians.’
MacCarthy has written to all the candidates in the Irish Presidential elections, asking them to support his proposal.
Speaking to the Irish Times, MacCarthy noted that a national cathedral for all Christians was part of the vision of Fr Michael Hurley SJ, founder of the Irish School of Ecumenics. He said:
“But there may now be an opportunity to make St Patrick’s into a national cathedral not merely for the Church of Ireland but for all Irish Christians. This was the vision of the late Michael Hurley SJ which he wrote about as long ago as 1970.”
The article notes that Catholic priest Enda McDonagh and Presbyterian minister Ken Newell are already ‘ecumenical canons’ at the cathedral.
I think that this proposal is an exciting one for all Irish Christians, an example of ecumenism in deed rather than merely in words.
And I hope that the invitation for greater participation in the life of the cathedral extends not just to Ireland’s largest Christian denominations (Catholic, Presbyterian and Methodist) but also to its newer Pentecostal, evangelical, and independent churches.
Beyond that, I hope that St Patrick’s can be a place where Ireland’s ‘faith minorities’ are welcomed as well, at the very least for dialogue and shared social action.
(Image by Joachim S. Muller, sourced on Flickr)